Molecular and biochemical parasitology

Hco-LGC-38 is novel nematode cys-loop GABA receptor subunit.

PMID 22940478


We have identified and characterized a novel cys-loop GABA receptor subunit (Hco-LGC-38) from the parasitic nematode Haemonchus contortus. This subunit is present in parasitic and free-living nematodes and shares similarity to both the UNC-49 group of GABA receptor subunits from nematodes and the resistant to dieldrin (RDL) receptors of insects. Expression of the Hco-lgc-38 gene in Xenopus oocytes and subsequent electrophysiological analysis has revealed that the gene encodes a homomeric channel sensitive to GABA (EC(50) 19 μM) and the GABA analogue muscimol. The sensitivity of the Hco-LGC-38 channel to GABA is similar to reported values for the Drosophila RDL receptor whereas its lower sensitivity to muscimol is similar to nematode GABA receptors. Hco-LGC-38 is also highly sensitive to the channel blocker picrotoxin and moderately sensitive to fipronil and dieldrin. Homology modeling of Hco-LGC-38 and subsequent docking of GABA and muscimol into the binding site has uncovered several types of potential interactions with binding-site residues and overall appears to share similarity with models of other invertebrate GABA receptors.